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Our economy seems to be making us a "renter nation" for now. When Units change ownership, as part of the sale and title transfer process, do HOA's have any latitude to require "live in owners"? It seems HOA's are vulnerable even more now to drifting away from being a community of "home owners". This also affects mortgage availability as "live in owner" to total Units ratios drop.
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I would like to get feedback from those that follow this blog about a situation I have with a condo in Florida that I rent and occasionally use. There are a total of 418 condo units in the complex with 225 units in the rental program.
When the project was built in the eighties, the developer formed two companies; one company for the condo owners association and one to be a rental company to rent the units for the owners. This was done to help the new owners pay for their units through rental income from the units until they were at an age that they would retire to the resort. They have a check in desk at the front of the resort and a staff that takes care of reservations and the renters during their stay. They receive operating revenue from rental commissions, cleaning fees, and deep cleans, community services, also known as security fees, maintenance and sale of inventory which is replacing articles in the units that are missing or broken such as coffee pots etc.
This total is around $1MM. The 2010 budget shows $1,102,298.00 The expenses for 2010 are projected to be $1,038,671 with a ‘MAKE BUDGET” PROFIT OF $63,627. This is where it gets interesting. The Corporation is a for profit corporation however they pay little or no taxes. The way they are getting around it is that they are paying all but a small portion of their profits to the Ocean Gallery Properties Owners Association as a management fee. In 2006 they paid $238,658 and 2007 they paid $268,900.00. In 2008 it was $327,055.00 . The profits made are taken off the operating budget thereby it cost the owners less for annual dues than would ordinarily be the case with no in house rental department.
The question arises that If the people that purchased units and put them in the rental program and there was a profit after the operating expenses of the rental department, why would the profits not be shared with the owners who only rent since theirs is the units that are receiving above normal wear and tear and when not rented there is no one using the amenities of the resort whereas owners who live there full time use the facilities all the time. The problem is that originally you could make enough from the rental income to pay taxes and the mortgage payments and a little left over for up grades. Years ago the property owners association realized that the more they could earn from the rentals the less would come out of their pockets. Since this is a seasonal property for the most part, those that lived there full time became the board members and passed rules that helped them more than those that had rental units. If you live there you do not rent so you want your fees as low as possible so they turned to the rental program to generate more money. The original basic agreement with the rental company was that they would take care of renting the units for a 30% commission based on the rent price. The board figured out that if they charged fees directly to the renters for use of the facilities (which the owner is already paying for) they could earn more money faster because it was not a percentage of rents but fees. Years ago people began to place their units with local real estate companies to rent them stopping the rental department 's fees. To counteract this the board passed a resolution that if you rented your unit, you had to go through the rental department and no outside real estate companies were allowed. What has happened is that it now cost as much to rent the unit as you receive from it. There is no money left for renovation and upgrades and no profit from the rental however the management fees paid to the property owners association continue to rise. It is clear to see by looking at the books that the property owner association charges what ever is left from the operation of the rental department as a management fee to suck the money out of the rental department and give it to all the owners rather than the rental unit owners. The property owners association in essence does no management of the rental department. Again this is a separate company that has its own management and employees that operate the rental department. The rental company is owned by the property owners association but it is a separate company. What do the followers of this blog feel could be done to help the rental owners and is the property owners association legal right in taking three hundred plus thousand dollars away from the rental owners and giving it to the non rental owners as well?
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I own 5 units in a (155 unit) condo building in Miami Beach, Florida. The last one I bought was a foreclosure. The previous owner owed a lot of money to the condo association. This building has rental restrictions for the 1st year of ownership. Because this was a complicated foreclosure I was under contract for over 2 years. Before signing the contract I asked the buildings office and the board if they would make an exception to this rule that I would buy the unit. I explained that it would be good for the building to get thousands of dollars owed by the previous owner (now the bank). The building manager said yes, that I could rent it and that she would even help me find a tenant. The President of the board said to just put the request in writing and she would present it to the rest of the board and that there should be no problem. So I signed the contract to buy.
Two years later the manager and the President of the board are no longer there. The new board says that was 2 years ago and a different board so it does not count. Because this foreclosure had issues when it was ready to close I legally could be out of my contract. I told the new board that it would be good for the board to get thousands of dollars from this sale and to get a responsible person making regular payments. I explained that if they did not make the rental rule exception that I would not buy. I explained that the property was in such distress that the likelihood a lender would finance it was little. And few investors would pay cash for a place which can not be rented the first year. One board member (out of 5) said that exceptions were done when it was a financial issue. Another board member said that he would support me and that it was very likely that the President of the board would support me because the building is in dire need of money. I went to the office and told them that I had 3 of the 5 board members who supported me. The office said that they still needed to have a meeting that it was not automatic. One week later, after their meeting, I bumped into the President of the board. He told me that they were going to allow me to rent the unit right away. They knew that I was not going to buy without this exception. I bought this place because of that verbal contract. The building got thousands of dollars from the sale. And now they are saying that I am not allowed to rent the 1st year. Since it was a foreclosure, I didn't get keys at closing. The office has the keys and they are refusing to give them to me so that I can copy them. They have previously given them to me before and I have made sure that they had correct keys in case of emergencies. I even explained that it would be good for the building in case they need them. The office said, if there is an emergency and we do not have correct keys, we can just break the door.
They are completely irrational in more ways that fit in this blog. I talked to a lawyer and I was told that if I go to court that I would win and they would even have to pay my attorney's fees. Since they are only selectively enforcing the rules (and I have legal written proof) that even if I never had a verbal contract with the President of the board that I would still win. But the building is practically broke and even if I only won $50,000, the building would have to pass a special assessment and I don't want to hurt my neighbors solely because of an irrational board. I have multiple items for which I could sue. I would just prefer not to sue. Three of the five board members are more rational. The only way to contact them is for me to call or email the office and ask to have my message forwarded to them. But non of them answer emails or phone call requests. The sad thing is that I really like the building and many of my neighbors. But the association and some of the employees, just simply make life impossible for many residents. One of the board members even violated the rental restriction rule. He would like to change that rule, but the 2 of the other board members are so loud and rude that they shut him up and he is not strong enough to stand up to them. In fact multiple board members have quit in the past and the same controlling irrational members remain. They run all the others out. I bought this condos because the price was irresistible. But I am to the point were I could just sell them all just to get away. Why do so many boards act like dictators. I could understand if they were acting on behalf of the majority of owners. But they are not and they don't care. They are supposed to be there to represent us not to be dictators. SO TRULY VERY FRUSTRATED.
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We are an eight unit condo association in Washington and currently three of the units are rented. We have just learned that another unit may go up for rent. Is there any limitation of the number units that can be rented before it would restrict a purchasers ability to get a mortgage?
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